Deidre McCalla and I have been close friends for about forty years. (gulp) We met in NYC when she was a roadie for The Deadly Nightshade and believe it or not, I was in a band opening for them. We stayed in touch, and (fast forward) I convinced her to move to NY and share my Bleecker Street two floor apartment. She began singing at Folk City (3 blocks from our place), while I had long since made the right decision to photograph musicians instead of being one. Then, years later, when I moved to Northern California, shooting for Olivia Records and Windham Hill Records, I somehow convinced Deidre to drive across country and move into a big house with five apartments shared with the wonderful musician, Robin Flower and friends, Laurie Mattioli and Mary James. Years later, Deidre and her son, Nia, moved to Atlanta, GA, where my entire family just happens to live. So, you can see we are somewhat karmically connected at the hip.
Deidre is rock solid. Whatever she does, she dives in fully.
A single mom who home-schooled her son for 10 years, this Vassar graduate never ceased to amaze me with the depths she would go to ensure Nia had a great education. They toured together for years and every part of the country held lessons they would enjoy together. And, you guessed it, now that Nia is grown, I am trying to convince her to move back to California!
Each of Deidre’s four CD projects are packed with passionate musical essays about life, love, family, and friendship. I am honored to say that her beautiful song, Home in My Heart, was written about our friendship. I have photographed each CD cover, as well as, all her promo photos. So, I know she’s a beauty, inside and out. She has my full respect as a treasured friend. She has been especially supportive of the Glass Half Full project, and I am extremely grateful.
I could not have undertaken all that Deidre has accomplished in her life. Fortunately for us, she has share most everything through her songs. And since some may consider me biased, a few quotes are below that may hold more weight.
By the way, proof of how long Deidre and I have know each other is depicted in these three photographs and the evolution of Deidre’s hairstyles! —Irene Young
You go girl! This CD mixes the perfect combination of solid music, great singing, energy and conviction. —SingOut (R. Warr)
Deidre McCalla is a voice of hope…willing to be human and sing about love and relationships…a singer so poignant and telling.—Patriot Star Ledger
Take an acoustic guitar, add a vibrant voice and let them both loose on themes from peace to poignant love. Then you’ll have Deidre McCalla. —The Capital Times
From Deidre’s Website:
From the moment DEIDRE MCCALLA takes the stage, her engaging presence and irresistible blend of folk, country, rock, and pop seize the listeners by the heart and won’t let go.
Deidre came of age in the fiery blaze of NYC’s folk heyday – a time when Greenwich Village clubs were filled with the likes of Dylan, Baez, and Ochs; a time when Motown ruled the top of the charts and the streets of America screamed with anger and civil unrest. Her first album, Fur Coats and Blue Jeans, was released when Deidre was 19 and a student at Vassar College. With a theater degree tucked under her belt and an acoustic guitar tossed in the back of a battered Buick station wagon, Deidre McCalla hit the proverbial road and never looked back. Deidre later majored in jazz guitar at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and released three albums with the pioneering women’s music label Olivia Records.
The Miami Herald affectionately dubs her a “dreadlocked troubadour.” From Maui to Maine, college coffeehouses to Carnegie Hall, Deidre McCalla is a much beloved performer in both folk and women’s music circles and has shared the stage with a long list of notables that includes Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman, Holly Near, Odetta, Cris Williamson, and Sweet Honey in the Rock. With five critically acclaimed albums to her credit, Deidre McCalla remains the ever seeking road warrior, her words and music chronicling our strengths and weaknesses and celebrating the power and diversity of the human spirit.
A single parent residing in Georgia with her son, Deidre has taught Performance at Warren Wilson College’s Swannanoa Gathering. Deidre’s work has been published in Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, The Original Coming Out Stories, and Chrysalis: A Feminist Quarterly, and she is featured in The Power of Words: A Transformative Language Arts Reader. Deidre is a proud member of AFM Local 1000 and the North American Folk Alliance.
Awards & Recognitions
Georgia Council for the Arts Touring Artist
OutMusic Award Nominee – Outstanding Songwriter
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist Showcase – Finalist
IAMA Founder’s Title Folk & Bluegrass Song Contest – 2nd Place
Great Am. Song Contest – Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting
Best CD of the Year List – Rhythms Magazine